The words of the 1994 report from the Confluence St. Louis
Minority Business Development Task Force need to be considered
"The St. Louis metropolitan area, like many others in the
nation, is adapting to the economic realities of the 1990s and
planning for the future. As part of this transition, the region is
looking to attract new industries to the area and to develop the
resources that already exist.
"One of our most promising - and relatively untapped -
resources in the region that has the potential to generate wealth
for the community, create jobs and increase productivity and
competitiveness is minority entrepreneurship and business
development. Other metropolitan areas are already tapping this
resource and reaping the economic benefits of strong minority
business development strategies."
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Census
Approximately 9 percent of all firms were minority-owned.
These firms accounted for only 3.9 percent of the national
gross receipts, or approximately $77.84 billion.
In the St. Louis region that year:
Thirteen percent of the 58,907 firms were minority-owned.
Total sales and receipts generated were only 2.6 percent of the
total sales and receipts for the region.
Only 1,627 of the minority-owned companies had paid employees.
Of the 1,186,102 people employed in the region in 1987, only
5,514 (or less that 1 percent) were employed by minority-owned
These statistics are significant because the minority
population in the area, as well as throughout the nation, increased
between 1980 and 1990; this trend is expected to continue. By the
year 2000, the minority population in the United States is expected
to approach 80 million. By 2010, minorities will account for a
third of the nation's population.
In 1988, Congress and the president ordered the Commission on
Minority Business Development to "review and conduct an assessment
of the operations of all federal programs intended to promote and
foster the devel opment of minority-owned businesses to ascertain
whether the purpose and objectives of such programs were being
The commission's mission was economic development and the full
incorporation of the knowledge, skills and abilities of minority in
dividuals into the economic system so that all of America and all
of its people might benefit.
The commission's final report characterized minority-owned
firms as "historical underutilized businesses," and described this
inattention to an important economic development resource as "a
squander of talent and energy that we can ill afford."
The October 1994 report by the Confluence St. …